Stranded walruses, Climate Walk, and Green Loop

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

First, the polar bears. Now, the walruses, 35, 000 of these have been spotted in a beach in Alaska, because, like the polar bears, they have no more ice homes to rest on due to climate change. These Pacific walruses were reported to have been forced on to their new beach location because of the loss of summer ice due to global warming.

When will the world, when will everyone heed the call for collective global and local action to avert, to mitigate climate change?

How many more creatures need to leave or lose their homes for people to realize that climate change is a reality that has to be responded to now, immediately, urgently?

Not only animals, but people have also lost not only their homes but their loved ones or their own lives as well due to global warming.

Remember November 8 last year when Leyte was hit by the deadly storm surge? Remember just this week when various areas of our country got flooded and lives lost again and so much damage even with just hours of heavy rains?

The Climate Walk which started in Manila hopes to awaken everyone to take the climate crisis as a real threat to all and our earth. Starting from Manila, the environmentalists are hoping to be in Tacloban on the 8th of November, exactly a year after the deadly typhoon Yolanda claimed thousands of lives and left so many more homeless, like the polar bears and the walruses. Sadly, until now, not much assistance can be observed to have been rendered to the Yolanda victims.

The participants of the historic event dubbed "A People's Walk for Climate Justice" plan to walk 1,000 kilometers in 40 days to arrive in Tacloban on November 8. This Climate Walk is the Filipinos' counterpart of the New York People's Climate March, "in which 400,000 people marched to call for urgent climate action and the United Nations Climate Summit, where over 160 world leaders announced their commitment to solve the climate crisis."

Southeast Asian Greenpeace executive director explained that "this walk is about fighting back. We need to unite as a people and demand a climate treaty that will give justice and compensation to countless families, communities and municipalities that are being severely affected and devastated by climate change impacts. We must reclaim our people's rights to a safe, secure and sustainable future."

Everyone is invited to join this walk, especially the most vulnerable to climate change – the food producers among our farmers and fishermen, our poor, our women, our children, our elderly, our people with disabilities. This Climate Walk is for all, however, all who recognize that we are now experiencing serious climate crisis and if we do not do our share, the fury of nature will be unleashed without mercy. Surely, we do not wish to have any more typhoon Yolanda or tornadoes or any other calamities visiting our homes, our country, our world?

Then, please do your share. Walk your talk about your share versus global warning. We all have to unite together to do what we can collectively to avert more adverse effects of climate change.

The Climate Walk will go through parts of Metro Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Samar, and by November 8, the participants hope to cross San Juanico Bridge toward Tacloban.  Other communities that will be part of the Climate Walk are Cebu, Negros, Panay Island and Palawan, or the provinces that were also heavily damaged by Yolanda.

As early as now, today, please, please do your share to fight the real climate crisis in our midst.

Manage your own garbage properly. Utilize our limited natural resources effectively. Go organic and protect our earth and our people from destructive GMOs. Try to be more open to creative alternatives to fossil fuels, including claiming significant portions of the roads for people, pedestrians, bikers, and those who choose not to use up fossil fuels, those who want to save our world, our cities, our communities from pollution and further global warming.

This week, Cebu City residents found themselves in different sides of the same road with the Green Loop Experiment. There were the supporters and advocates and there were the critics and the angry commuters and drivers.

Those for the Green Loop want all of us to hear and listen to the following message, expressed by Architect Dean Yumi Espina: " the Green Loop is all about building connections, making compact walkable cities, transit-oriented, dense and livable. There is no other way out of this and we have got to try." The Green Loop hopes to find alternatives that can provide better environment, livable residence and communities for all. It is a small step, an initial stage to respond to climate change.

Being an initial step, the Green Loop, like all other calls versus climate change, is not without limitations. With everyone's positive contribution and cooperation, however, and because of the urgency and reality of the climate crisis, we need to heed the clear message to us all to act collectively now, present alternatives to avert further adverse and deadly impacts of climate change.

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